Innovative chemically enhanced lapping (CEL) technology for machining optoelectronic single crystals

Project opportunity

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Single crystal silicon carbide, sapphire and aluminium nitride are core optoelectronic materials for technologies that pervade our daily lives in lighting, communication, computing, power generation and medicine. The use of those materials can significantly improve the efficiency of electricity generation and power saving, which is one of the key strategies for solving the global climate and energy crisis. In most of applications single crystals must be shaped into thin substrates or wafers of atomically smooth surface and damage-free subsurface using sequential processes including grinding, lapping and polishing. A bottleneck issue existing in conventional lapping is that it generates a damage sublayer of several microns, which must be removed by the subsequent mechanical polishing (MP) or/and chemical mechanical polishing (CMP). Thus, minimising the subsurface damage in lapping can considerably reduce the time for subsequent MP and CMP. This should be done without compromising removal efficiency. Currently, no such lapping process is available.

Our research aim is to develop an innovative chemically enhanced lapping (CEL) technology for machining optoelectronic single crystals. In this work, chemically active suspensions will be developed to remove difficult-to-machine crystals and new removal mechanisms will be revealed. With the CEL process, the lapping quality of single crystals is expected to be substantially improved.

A PhD scholarship are available to support this research funded under an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project. This PhD project aims to understand the oxidation and removal mechanisms of single crystals in the presence of nanosuspensions under mechanical abrasion conditions; and the effect of the interaction between nanosuspensions and crystal materials on the removal of oxidised layers under lapping conditions. The outcomes are expected to assist optimise the CEL technology.

Scholarship value

As a scholarship recipient, you'll receive: 

  • living stipend of $32,192 per annum tax free (2023 rate), indexed annually
  • tuition fees covered
  • single Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)


Professor Han Huang

School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering


Preferred educational background

Your application will be assessed on a competitive basis.

We take into account your

  • previous academic record
  • publication record
  • honours and awards
  • employment history.

A working knowledge of material science and characterization would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in the field(s) of material characterization and micro-/nano-mechanics and the potential for scholastic success.

A background or knowledge of material science and engineering is highly desirable.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 4, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date.

If you are an international applicant, you may need to apply much earlier for visa requirements.

How to apply

You apply for this project as part of your PhD program application.

View application process